Monday, December 10, 2012

Calgary opens West LRT, completes 7 Avenue project

In Calgary, AB, Canada, the city's West LRT line officially opened on Dec. 10.

"The West LRT line is a shining example of our government's commitment to connecting residents with the people and services important to them and to supporting municipalities as they plan for the future," said Premier Alison Redford. "Together, we are building better communities."

"This is a great day for all Calgarians, especially those in west Calgary," said Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi. "A healthy public transit system is a critical part of a working, sustainable city. This major improvement to Calgary's transit system will greatly improve transportation in the west by providing a fast and efficient way to downtown and around the city for 105,000 residents currently living there."

The CA$1.4-billion (US$1.418-billion) project is one of the largest infrastructure endeavors ever undertaken by The city of Calgary. It is expected to carry 25,000 passengers along 8.2 kilometers (six miles) between downtown and 69 Street S.W. in just 12 minutes. Ridership is projected to grow to more than 40,000 passengers per day over the next few years.

The West LRT project includes six new stations, major roadway upgrades, construction of a new interchange and a new high school.

The LRT line will provide higher quality public transit service than the current bus-only service. The LRT will give users a direct, traffic-free way to get to downtown and various facilities around the city.

The project was funded by the city of Calgary and the government of Alberta. Alberta's CA$1.3-billion (US$1.316 billion) investment was comprised of CA$934 million (US$946 million) from the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI), CA$332 million (US 336 million) from the Green Transit Initiatives Program (GreenTRIP) and CA$50 million (US$50.6 million) from other provincial funding sources.

In addition to the CA$332 million (US$336 million) for the West LRT line, Calgary will receive CA$133 million (US$135 million) for the purchase of at least 50 new LRT cars and CA$8 million (US$ 8. Million) for the pre-design of the Southeast Transitway (SETWAY) project from GreenTRIP. The city is sharing the cost of these initiatives with the province.

Also in Calgary, the Downtown West-Kerby Station opened for service on Dec. 10, 2012, which marks the completion of the 7 Avenue Light-Rail-Transit Corridor Refurbishment Project.

Construction began in 2007 on 10 new stations to replace aging CTrain stations and sidewalks in the downtown area in order to improve customer service and accommodate four-car trains. In addition to constructing new stations, with sidewalks integrated directly from adjacent buildings onto each platform, corridor upgrades created a more pedestrian-friendly environment with wider sidewalks, improved lighting and enhanced streetscapes between stations.

The opening of the Downtown West-Kerby Station ties the downtown corridor into the West LRT line.

The total cost of the 7 Avenue Corridor Refurbishment Project totaled CA$183.3 million (US$185.6 million). The federal government provided CA$79.8 million (US$80.8 million), the government of Alberta provided CA$89.9 million (US$91 million) and the city of Calgary contributed CA$13.6 million (US$13.7 million).

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